Friday, June 1, 2012
On 12:21 PM by The Bloggers @ 67 Wine No comments
by Ben Wood | On Twitter: @7stringben
The Loire Valley is home to some of the most individual and compelling red wines in the world. We adore the diversity of this region, and have been tasting both reds and whites all week with our staff and customers. From the farthest reaches of western Loire across the long stretch of the region, winemakers turn out reds suited for any season. What is truly charming about most, is how well-positioned Loire reds are for spring and summer.
A quite singular “heirloom” grape that I love is Pineau d'Aunis. This ancient grape variety is one of the most fun to drink, especially in terms of discovering new flavor sensations. There really isn't anything else like it. According to the Oxford Companion of Wine (OCW), Pineau d’Aunis “sometimes called Chenin Noir, is a historic Touraine variety making light red wines once sought by the kings of both France and England.” Currently, we carry Olivier Lemasson's super delicious Les Vins Contes Poivre et Sel Vin de France. The Poivre et Sel is a blend of 60-year-old Pineau d'Aunis and 20-year-old Gamay vines – a brilliant, complex light wine that complements the classic french lunch: Some bread, cheese, and small salad.
Another of the Loire's heirloom grapes is Grolleau. This grape is named for the french word grolle, for crow – said to reflect the deep black berries of the vine. Domaine des Sablonnettes Cop d'Abord is made from this lesser-known, yet highly engaging indigenous variety. Named from a George Brassens song, it is clean, showing cherry and plum scents and more vivid red fruit on the palate. Lots of fun to drink, and perfectly suited for a grilled meat or fish.
Finally, I'd like to mention the iconic and incredible Olivier Cousin, vigneron from Anjou. This inimitable producer works with horses and plows to tend his vines, puts an ingredient list on the bottle, including the amount of sulfur, and has really shaken up the Anjou with his revolutionary practices and dedication to quality. He works with Grolleau, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc. He turns out stunningly earthy wines with incredible mouthfeel and balance. We currently stock Cousin's 2009 old vines Cabernet Franc.
This is just the tip of the Loire red wine scene, but a solid (if quick) overview of some talented artisan winemakers willing to work with heirloom red grapes in a region that comes to mind more for its whites than reds.
It’s easy to add more Loire wines to your summer drinking list with this curated offer. You can also pop into the shop and see me where I can personally show and tell more about each wine I buy.
Want even more red and white (and sparkling!) choices from the Loire? Check out our entire selection.